Hi Linda,

Open Box M makes wonderful birch+walnut pochade boxes (they call them palette boxes) that can be positioned completely flat for watercolor work (or tilted for oil painting). The boxes come in several sizes and are handmade in the United States -- beautifully crafted and functional. I have the 8x10 one, which weighs only 1.25 lb. (--plein air kits can get really heavy really fast, so this is an important consideration.)

I also own an EasyL Lite by Artwork Essentials, which has been a great workhorse. It's easy to set up in the field, plus I even use it in the studio. This company sells full kits complete with tripods, brush holders, and so on. Their outdoor umbrellas are the best design out there, in my experience. I'd say that the Artwork Essentials boxes are at bit heavier overall, but very good quality. 

I don't know anything about Dick Blick's Craftech Sienna Plein Aire box, but think the Guerrilla Painter box will only allow one size of canvas (or other ground) to be used (annoyingly restrictive, IMO). The company called Soltek makes a pricey but ingenious folding box out of aluminum that includes the tripod and a space to hold your paint tubes -- lightweight, but prone (I hear) to getting sand caught in the telescoping legs. Ben Haggett of Alla Prima makes gorgeous and ingeniously-designed pochade boxes -- these are a bit heavy for my tastes but I know folks who love them. Be aware that Ben has a waiting list! Open Box M also takes a few weeks to construct whatever box you might order, so you would want to talk to them as soon as possible.

That's all I know. Yay for outdoor painting! :o)


On Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 10:04 AM, Linda Feltner <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Hi All:
I have a friend looking for a Pochade Box or travel kit suitable for a Retirement Gift (for a mutual friend). 

Can you offer any suggestions?

The Retiree is an artist, multi media but probably watercolor. I do not think she is interested in building her own box from scratch. (although I know there are some cool setups out there that you have built). 

I am looking at Dick Blick's Craftech Sienna Plein Aire boxes, and Guerrilla Painter .   I'm not sure the price range she wants, but I don't think she needs to get all the accessories shown in the advertisements. A well-built small travel/plein aire box would be the goal.

Any other companies? Styles? better manufacturers? 


Linda M. Feltner Artist, LLC
Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, President


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